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Death Declines

Posted in Criminal on Wednesday November 23 2011 @ 7:54am

Every year, inexplicably, the president of the United States pardons a turkey.

As holiday-friendly as this tradition is, what about actual people who face the death penalty? Since 1976, when the death penalty was re-established, 1277 people have been put to death in the U.S. But now, their numbers are dwindling, and not only in jurisdictions you'd expect.

Thanks to Carl Reynolds at CourTex, we learn that capital cases in Texas are declining, a lot. See Capital Punishment, Carl Reynolds, CourTex (October 13, 2011). Is this due to life without parole (LWOP)? No, because, as Carl notes, LWOP was not around until 2005, well after the trend began.

The savvy Grits for Breakfast gives this more attention, and poses some challenges to LWOP generally. See Texas Death Sentences Plummeted Duringi Bush, Perry Tenures, Grits for Breakfast (October 14, 2011).

And while it's difficult to ever compare Texas to Oregon, especially with regard to the death penalty, see Governor's Kitzhaber's statement establishing a moratorium: BREAKING: Governor Kitzhaber Issues Reprieve -- Calls for Action on Capital Punishment, DP9 (November 22, 2011). Maybe Oregon is simply following Texas's lead.

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